Éliane Radigue with her synthesizer gear (from the event page created by The Lab for the Saturday performance)
This coming weekend The Lab will present two evenings featuring major works by the French composer Éliane Radigue. During the second half of the twentieth century Radigue was one of the leading figures in the creation of electronic music. However, since the beginning of the current century, she has shifted her attention to acoustic instruments. Each of these aspects of her work will be given its own program at The Lab.
The first of those programs will be devoted entirely to the Trilogie de la Mort (trilogy of death). These are three pieces composed at different times in Radigue’s career. The first of them, “Kyema,” was composed here in San Francisco at New Langton Arts in 1988. The second, “Kailasha,” was created at the Experimental Intermedia Foundation in New York in 1991. The final movement, “Koumé” was composed in 1993 for a performance at the Festival MANCA in Nice (in France).
“Kyema” was inspired by Bardo Thodol, usually known in English as The Tibetan Book of the Dead, which is organized around six “intermediate states” (the literal translation of bar do) between life and death; and the six sections of “Kyema” amount to reflections on each of those states. “Kailasha” is named after Mount Kailash in Tibet, considered to be the center of the world in Tibetan cosmology. Finally, “Koumé” completes the trilogy by representing death as part of a perpetual becoming. The entire composition was created on tape with an ARP 2500 synthesizer, and the duration is three hours. This performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 7; and doors will open at 7 p.m.
The title of the second program will be Occam Ocean. That title refers to an ongoing series of solo and ensemble pieces. Radigue composed each of those pieces for individual instrumentalists, drawing upon a performer’s personal techniques and the ways in which those techniques relate to the instrument being performed. Three performers will participate in this program, all of whom have worked with Radigue. They will be cellist Charles Curtis, harpist Rhodri Davies, and tuba player Robin Hayward. Occam Ocean will begin at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 8; and doors will open at 8 p.m.
The Lab is located in the Mission at 2948 16th Street, which is a short walk to the east from the corner of Mission Street. This is particularly good for those using public transportation, since that corner provides bus stops for both north-south and east-west travel as well as a BART station. The admission charge for Trilogie de la Mort will be free for members of The Lab, and general admission will be $10 for all others. For Occam Ocean members will be admitted for $15, and general admission will be $20. Online registration is highly recommended using the above hyperlinks for the different categories of tickets (including those that are free).